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Abstract

In city parks, people who are homeless are often seen with backpacks and bags sitting on benches or sleeping there. Society may view the homeless as troublesome or not see them at all. Researchers identify issues that should be explored, but recognize that the homeless are a fragile population and proceed with care. People who are homeless can be at risk for exploitation, because the person, who is hungry or cold, may be willing to exchange personal dignity for food or shelter. This is an exploration of the awakening and enlightenment that occurs when the researcher truly sees the homeless, not just as research participants, but as humans. As the researcher is allowed inside, the research purpose may fade and become insignificant as the plethora of problems for the homeless come into focus. Those who were invisible become brilliantly visible while the hue of the researcher’s work fades in comparison. The researcher will face the human suffering that presents. In the end, it is the researcher who learns. The telling of this unveiling is interlaced with a story from a man who is homeless in New Orleans, Louisiana. As the researcher attempted to get inside the culture to prepare for research, the invisible became visible. Getting into the community means learning and understanding the plight of the people; sometimes, that experience is shocking.

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